The Leftist Project

The idea of Judgement Day, when all accumulated debts will be fully paid and an out-of-joint world will finally be set straight, is then taken over in secularised form by the modern leftist project. Here the agent of judgment is no longer God, but the people. Leftist political movements are like ‘banks of rage.’ They collect rage investments from people and promise them large-scale revenge, the re-establishment of global justice. Since, after the revolutionary explosion of rage, full satisfaction never takes place and an inequality and hierarchy re-emerge, there always arises a push for the second-true, integral- revolution which will satisfy the disappointed and truly finish the emancipatory work: 1792 after 1789, October after February…

The problem is simply that there is never enough rage capital. This is why it is necessary to borrow from or combine with other rages: national or cultural. In fascism, the national rage predominates; Mao’s communism mobilises the rage of exploited poor farmers, not proletarians. No wonder that Sloterdijk systematically uses the term ‘leftist fascism,’ and regularly refers to Ernst Nolte, the German ‘revisionist’ historian who developed the idea of Nazism as a deplorable but understandable reaction to communist terror. For Sloterdijk, fascism is ultimately a secondary variation of (and reaction to) the properly leftist project of emancipatory rage. In our own time, when this global rage has exhausted its potential, two main forms of rage remains: Islam (the rage of victims of capitalist globalisation) plus ‘irrational’ outburst by youth. One should, perhaps, add these Latin-American populism, ecologist, anti-consumerists and other forms of anti-globalist resentment. The Porto Alegre movement failed to establish itself as a global bank for this rage, since it lacked a positive alternative vision. Sloterdijk even mentions the ‘re-emerging Left-Fascist whispering at the borders of the academia,’ where, I guess, I belong…Although these local outburst are what critics of Fukuyama celebrate as the ‘return of history,’ they remain poor substitutes which cannot hide the fact that there is no longer a global rage potential.

Slavoj Žižek, Violence.

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